Updated February 10, 2021
As the COVID-19 situation evolves, we are continuing to work with faculty and campus partners to help you complete your work term and stay on track to fulfill your degree requirements. Please continue to check this page for updates leading up to your Winter 2021 work term.
If you have any questions or concerns, please send a message to your co-op advisor via WaterlooWorks.
Note: These changes are in place only for the Winter 2021 work term in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and will be reviewed each term until no longer required.
Learn more about:
We know the Winter 2021 work term will likely present unique challenges for you and your employer. To address that, we’ve developed a number of flexible pathways to help you complete your work term.
Note: Students in the following programs should reach out to their faculty/program advisors to learn about the flexible pathways in place for their programs:
- Pharmacy students: please reach out to Anthony Miller (email@example.com)
In response to the impact that COVID-19 has had on the job market, we're piloting a change to our hiring process for the Winter 2021 work term to maximize the amount of choice, flexibility and convenience for students to search and apply for jobs, and for employers to hire candidates. We hope this will encourage more employers to post jobs and make it easier for students to apply and find out their results faster!
Remember: employers will be posting jobs throughout the recruiting term, so keep applying until you have a match! Whether you end up finding a job at the start of the term or later in the recruitment process, great jobs will be available and we’re here to support you every step of the way.
At a high-level, here’s what hiring for the Winter 2021 work term will look like:
- Extra employment cycle added before fall reading week to help you solidify matches faster (does not apply to Pharmacy and Architecture students, who follow their own hiring processes linked from our important dates webpage)
- Interviews arranged through WaterlooWorks will be conducted remotely to maximize flexibility
- Application limits will increase by increments of 50 with every new posting to allow you to apply to more jobs
- If you need extra time, you can keep applying for jobs all the way until March 8, 2021 (last day to start work to receive co-op credit for an 8-week work term ending April 30)
- Please note: We're changing our wording to better reflect the fact that employers post jobs in various "cycles" throughout the recruiting term, so you'll see the word "cycle" replacing previous terms like "first interview cycle" (or "main round") and "continuous interview cycle."
|App limit||Job postings open||Apps due||Remote interview period||Employer rankings available||Student rankings due||Match results available|
|Cycle#1 Posting#1||50 apps||Sept 14—18*||Sept 22 at 9AM (ET)||Sept 25—
|Oct 8 at 12PM (ET)||Oct 9 at 2PM (ET)||Oct 9 by end of day|
|Cycle#1 Posting#2||50 more apps (100 total)||Sept 23—29||Sept 29 at 9AM (ET)|
|October 10-18 Reading week = no interviews – focus on your academics, plan ahead and take good care of yourself!|
|Cycle#2 Posting#1||50 more apps (150 total)||Oct 13—16||Oct 20 at 9AM (ET)||Oct 23—
|Nov 5 at
|Nov 6 at
by end of day
|Cycle#2 Posting#2||50 more apps (200 total)||Oct 21—23||Oct 27 at 9AM (ET)|
|App limit increased to 500 apps in total||Nov 9—Dec 1
New jobs are posted daily and stay live for 2 business days before closing at 9AM (ET) - check back often!
Interviews every Tuesday-Thursday
Every Thursday at 8PM (ET)
|Nov 20—Dec 11
Every Friday at 10AM (ET)
|Nov 20 – Dec 11
Every Friday by end of day
|Direct offers||Following the last match on December 11, you can continue searching for jobs until March 8, 2021 (last day to start work to receive co-op credit for an 8-week work term ending April 30) if you’re still looking for a job. Employers will contact you directly to arrange interviews and discuss any offers.|
|*A small number of jobs may be posted a few business days prior to September 14 on the WaterlooWorks Co-op job board as some employers have longer recruitment cycles. Feel free to start checking this board as early as September 9 and follow any instructions within the job description.|
2) A REDUCTION IN THE NUMBER OF WORK TERMS REQUIRED TO GRADUATE FOR STUDENTS UNABLE TO OBTAIN A CO-OP CREDIT
Across all programs (except Pharmacy and GBDA), for any student unable to obtain a co-op credit for a Spring 2020, Fall 2020 and/or Winter 2021 work term, the minimum number of work terms required by the program will be reduced by one (with a minimum of three work terms in undergraduate programs, and one in master’s degree programs that are supported by Co-operative Education).
Please note that this reduction is not cumulative, meaning that students who missed two work terms between Spring 2020 and Winter 2021 are still only eligible for a reduction of one work term.
Only students who are unable to obtain a co-op credit in Spring 2020, Fall 2020 and Winter 2021 will be considered for this reduced minimum. Students with a UU or Failed status are not eligible for the reduced number of work terms and will have a status of NCR recorded on their transcript .
For example, if you have six work terms scheduled in your sequence with a minimum of five work terms and are unable to obtain a co-op credit for the Spring 2020, Fall 2020 or Winter 2021 work term, your new minimum is four work terms. Otherwise, the minimum remains five work terms. Please consult your academic program advisor for details.
Here's a visual to show you what that looks like for UNDERGRAD co-op students:
|Number of work terms in the sequence||Program minimum work terms||New Flexible Pathways minimum work terms|
Here's a visual to show you what that looks like for GRAD co-op students who are enrolled in programs supported by Co-operative Education:
|Number of work terms in the sequence||Program minimum work terms||New Flexible Pathways minimum work terms|
As you continue your job search for the Winter 2021 work term, you may be able to enroll in up to five academic courses. Depending on how your work search goes, you can choose to drop the courses (if you end up finding a job) or stay enrolled to develop skills for your next work term. Either way, there are a variety of factors to consider when making this decision.
|Oct 23 - Nov 5||ALL co-op students with a Winter 2021 work term can enroll in 1 course in addition to their WatPD course, regardless of whether they have found employment.|
|As of December 2||ALL co-op students with a Winter 2021 work term can opt to enroll in 2 academic courses with academic advisor approval in addition to their WatPD course, regardless of whether they have found employment. Please discuss this option with your academic program advisor.
|As of December 9||Only unemployed co-op students with a Winter 2021 work term will be able to register for additional courses (subject to availability) while they continue to search for jobs until the last day to find employment (March 8, 2021 for an 8-week work term ending on April 30). If they end up finding a job, they will only be allowed to remain in up to 2 academic courses, and they will be prompted to drop any additional courses at that time (see below). Note - sequence change requests to take courses during a scheduled co-op term, or to end on a co-op term, will not typically be approved without additional extenuating circumstances (see below for information on exceptions to sequence changes.
Please consult with your academic program advisor (or faculty co-op advisor, if you’re in Math) if you have questions about making course choices and what makes the most sense for your degree progression.
Please note: Even if you’ve enrolled in 2+ courses for the Winter 2021 term, you can continue searching for work until March 8, 2021 (last day to start work to receive co-op credit for an 8-week work term ending April 30) to maintain your co-op credit! Jobs will continue to be posted on WaterlooWorks throughout the recruitment period, and if you end up finding a job for co-op credit here’s what will happen:
If you are enrolled in full-time courses and you are employed before March 8, the Registrar’s Office will contact you and you will be asked to drop down to a maximum of 2 courses and offered a 100% refund on the courses you are required to drop. This step is mandatory as you cannot be enrolled in full-time courses and receive co-op credit in the same term.
If you enrolled in part-time courses and you are employed before March 8, you would normally be expected to continue in 1-2 courses. At the time you are employed and if you would like to drop down to less than 2 courses, you can email or call The Centre to see whether a 100% refund is possible (email: firstname.lastname@example.org, phone: 519-888-4567, ext. 42268).
Backdated course drops and refunds will only be eligible for students who find jobs that meet the requirements for co-op credit.
After March 8, you will no longer be eligible for a work term credit if you are enrolled in full-time courses.
If there is no change in your employment status, you must follow the Important Dates for withdrawls and refunds.
If you have questions about the above, please consult with your academic program advisor (or faculty co-op advisor, if you’re in math) to see what’s possible for your situation. If you’re an international visa student, we also encourage you to consult with the Student Success Office’s team of Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants to determine if taking a full-time course load will have any impact to your study or co-op work permits, and/or your post-graduation plans of staying in Canada.
Programs are intentionally designed to balance course offerings, program requirements and job availability in each work term. A sequence change does impact all three to varying degrees in each program. For example, programs structure course offerings based on sequences and Co-operative Education works to develop jobs based on enrolment demands each term.
Given that, students should normally remain in their sequence as planned and should not move a scheduled work term to a future term. To address the impact of not earning a co-op credit due to COVID-19, programs have reduced the number of required work terms by one for those students who are unable to obtain a co-op credit in their Spring 2020, Fall 2020 or Winter 2021 work term.
Where there is a need to consider an exception due to situations that include course offerings, eight-month work terms and other unique scenarios, a sequence change form can be submitted to your academic program advisor (or faculty co-op advisor, if you're a Math student) with a clear rationale to explain the extenuating circumstances. The Faculty and Co-operative Education will review the request for an exception together and inform the student of their decision. Please contact your academic program advisor (or faculty co-op advisor, if you're a Math student) if you have any questions about the exception process.
If you're an international visa student, we also encourage you to consult with the Student Success Office's team of Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants to determine if changing your sequence will have any impact on your study or co-op work permits, and/or your post-graduation plans of staying in Canada.
Waterloo’s co-op program requires jobs to meet standard or flexible requirements in order to be granted co-op credit for your work term.
In order to graduate, undergraduate co-op students must complete a minimum of three standard work terms, plus 1-3 additional work terms that meet standard OR flexible work term criteria (depending on your academic program’s study/work sequence). All work terms for Graduate students must be standard work terms.
- Standard work terms: Work terms with a single employer/position that meets the standard work term criteria below.
- Flexible work terms: Work terms with a single or multiple employers/positions that together meet the flexible work term criteria below. Flexible work terms allow students to receive credit for a wider range of work experiences that don’t quite fit the standard requirements.
We know that COVID-19 may present unique challenges for students searching for work. That’s why we’ve increased our flexibility around our existing work term requirements to consider a wider variety of workplaces, positions and rates of pay for co-op credit.
If your position does NOT meet one or more aspects of the standard/flexible criteria below, please speak to your co-op advisor. We review each job opportunity on a case-by-case basis, so we may be able to make an exception depending on your situation and rationale.
|Standard work term||Flexible work term|
|Requirements||Existing||Spring 2020, Fall 2020 and Winter 2021 only||Existing||Spring 2020, Fall 2020 and Winter 2021 only|
|Job type||• Single organization/position
• Job must be related to your academic/ career goals
|• Increased flexibility in the types of jobs that will be approved for credit (organization type, job level, etc.)||• Single or multiple organizations/positions (e.g., combining two part-time jobs)
• Rationale for how the job(s) will help you meet your career goals is required
|• You can combine 2+ positions that together support your professional goals, or help you develop transferable skills (e.g., 2+ part-time jobs)|
|Work term length||• Job must be 12-16 weeks||• Job must be 8-16 weeks (as long as you work at least 280 hours over the span of your work term)||• Job(s) must be 12-16 weeks (as long as you work at least 420 hours over the span of your work term)||• Job(s) must be 8-16 weeks (as long as you work at least 280 hours over the span of your work term)|
|Hours||• Job must be full-time (35-40 hours/week)||• Job can be full-time or part-time (as long as you work at least 280 hours over the span of your work term)||• Job(s) can be full-time or part-time (as long as you work at least 420 hours over the span of your work term)||• Job(s) can be full-time or part-time (as long as you work at least 280 hours over the span of your work term)|
|Pay||• Position must be compensated to at least minimum wage (or usual local minimum practice) for where the organization is located, OR
• Job must meet unpaid/underpaid guidelines
|• Position(s) must be compensated to at least minimum wage (or usual local minimum practice) for where the organization(s) are located, OR
• Job(s) must meet unpaid/underpaid guidelines
|Supervisor||• You must not be supervised by a family member (can work for a family business as long as your supervisor is not a family member).|
|Performance Evaluation||• Your supervisor/coordinator must submit a Student Performance Evaluation||• Your supervisor(s)/coordinator(s) must submit a Student Performance Evaluation (one per job)|
|Job location||• Spring 2020, Fall 2020 and Winter 2021 work terms must adhere to current University travel policies.
• You must follow our existing travel advisory policy to ensure that the location of your job complies with the University’s travel requirements for the safety and protection of UWaterloo students. Work terms outside of Canada are always assessed based on the level of risk published by Global Affairs Canada (GAC) travel advisories, in conjunction with any overall directives from our central University leadership.
• If you're an international visa student, any work completed for a co-op credit must be done on a co-op work permit.
• If you're interested in working outside Canada, visit our working abroad webpage.
To help with your work search, we’ve increased our flexibility around standard and flexible Work Term Requirements for Winter 2021 to give co-op credit for a greater variety of workplaces, positions and rates of pay (see above).
If you’ve arranged your own job outside WaterlooWorks, please follow the steps below to determine whether it is eligible for co-op credit:
- Ensure that it meets the Work Term Requirements and the University’s current travel policies and our remote work guidelines.
- Speak with your co-op advisor to let them know that you’ve found an opportunity outside WaterlooWorks.
- Submit the appropriate AOJ form based on your location:
- AOJ Canada: use this form if you will be based in Canada during your work term (in-person or remote)
- AOJ USA: use this form if you will be based in the USA during your work term working for a Canadian, American or International employer (in-person or remote)
- AOJ International: use this form if you will be based outside of Canada/USA while working for a Canadian, American or International employer (in-person or remote)
- AOJ UWaterloo: use this form if you will be working for the University of Waterloo (in-person or remote)
- For more information, review our Arrange Own Job process.
For tips on how to talk to employers about hiring and supporting the cost of a co-op student, visit our arrange own job webpage and funding opportunities webpage. Talking about funding opportunities can be particularly helpful when talking with potential employers or negotiating job offers as a “selling point” to make it easier and more cost-effective for them to hire you!
Any changes to PD course requirements will be communicated to you by your faculty.
- AHS students: please see the Co-op Procedures webpage on your Faculty's website for more information about how requirements have been adjusted for you.
- Arts students: please see the COVID-19 work terms webpage on your Faculty’s website for more information about how requirements have been adjusted for you.
- Environment students: please see the Program requirements webpage on your Faculty's website or reach out to your academic advisor for more information about how requirements have been adjusted for you.
In the absence of any updates from your faculty, your PD requirements remain the same, as outlined in your academic calendar. Please contact your academic program advisor (or faculty co-op advisor, if you're a Math student) if you have any questions about your PD requirements.
If work term report requirements are being reduced in your faculty, they will be communicated to you by your faculty.
- Health students: please see the Co-op Procedures webpage on your Faculty's website for more information about how requirements have been adjusted for you.
- Arts students: please see the COVID-19 work terms webpage on your Faculty’s website for more information about how requirements have been adjusted for you.
In the absence of any updates from your faculty, your work term report requirements remain the same, as outlined in your academic calendar. Please contact your academic program advisor (or faculty co-op advisor, if you're a Math student) if you have any questions about your work term report requirements.
With the current economic climate around the pandemic, preserving job opportunities and employer relationships to help as many students as possible find employment has never been more important. Declining a job offer or leaving a work term early may result in lost opportunities for other co-op students in the future. As a result, consequences may apply.
To avoid this, it’s your responsibility to read job descriptions carefully and apply only to jobs that you would realistically take if your interview resulted in a match. In addition, be sure to ask questions when interviewing in order to understand the specifics of a position before you accept a job offer.
You always have the options below to give you choice when interviewing for jobs and submitting your rankings through WaterlooWorks:
- Requesting interview relief: If you're feeling overwhelmed with your interview schedule, you can contact your co-op advisor to discuss available options and/or fill out a Request for Interview Relief Form on WaterlooWorks. Depending on your situation, you may be able to choose to be removed from one or more of your upcoming interviews by having your job application(s) withdrawn.
- Request to Withdraw Application: If you have serious concerns about a job or employer immediately after an interview, you can request to have your application withdrawn.
- Ranking a job as “Not Interested”: You can now submit up to three “Not Interested” rankings per term to guarantee that you will not be matched with a job and/or prioritize other jobs of interest. If you decide against a job after attending an interview, consider using this option rather than reneging on a match.
If you decide to decline a job offer or leave a work term early please see below for an overview of how we typically handle these situations, as well as accommodations in place for Winter 2021.
- Reneges (declining any accepted job offer [match/AOJ/return] prior to starting the job):
- We review each renege situation on a case-by-case basis to determine what consequences may be applied (see our Co-op Roles and Responsibilities for more information).
- For Winter 2021 work terms, we will consider removing consequences for students who renege on a match due to health concerns related to COVID-19.
- Resignations (leaving a work term early after starting a job):
- We review each resignation situation on a case-by-case basis to determine what consequences may be applied (see our Co-op Roles and Responsibilities for more information).
- For Winter 2021 work terms, we will consider removing consequences for students who leave a job early due to health concerns related to COVID-19.
If you have questions about your specific situation, please reach out to your co-op advisor.
Good news - we are now allowing co-op students who are physically located in Canada to pursue independent contractor positions for their work terms, as long as they meet our work term requirements for co-op credit.
Review the resource below to learn more about some key considerations and implications of working in Canada as an independent contractor.
All co-op interviews arranged through WaterlooWorks will continue to be conducted remotely. This means that no campus facilities are available to be used for interviews, regardless of the interview type – instead, you can proceed with your interviews remotely from a location where you feel safe.
Remote interview instructions:
- All students will be asked to complete a form in WaterlooWorks to indicate where you are located and how employers can reach you. Please keep this up-to-date!
- If you are selected for an interview, more detailed instructions will be sent via WaterlooWorks.
- An employer may send you a video link directly if they prefer.
NEW WaterlooWorks functionality: Integrated webcam feature
With so much of today's hiring happening remotely, we're excited to announce some new WaterlooWorks functionality - an integrated webcam feature that makes it easier than ever to attend your interviews remotely, all within WaterlooWorks!
With this new functionality, you won't have to wait for links from your employer - you'll just select a timeslot as usual and you will be able to join a webcam call directly from within WaterlooWorks at the time of your scheduled interview. To learn more about attending interviews using this new integrated webcam functionality, visit the WaterlooWorks Help: Interviews webpage.
Have questions or need help with your interviews?
If you need help with your interview skills, you can access Centre for Career Action services virtually.
In addition, if you have questions about a scheduled interview or interview conflict, click the "Send a message" button in WaterlooWorks and select "Interviews" as the category. This will direct your message to one of our interview coordinators who can help answer your questions.
Given Waterloo’s current stance around international travel and GAC’s listing of all locations as high risk, we are required to follow that direction and cannot currently approve work terms that require students to actively travel to locations outside Canada for the Winter 2021 term (some exceptions apply - see below).
Since we cannot confidently predict when this will change, students are advised to prioritize jobs that can be completed from Canada if they are already in Canada. Winter 2021 work terms with employers based outside of Canada, including an Arrange Own Job (AOJ), can still be approved for co-op credit if employers can hire you to their Canadian office or allow you to legally work remotely from within Canada.
Work terms abroad: Exceptions for Winter 2021 co-op credit
We understand that each student’s specific situation is unique and have worked with University leadership to establish exceptions for the following students to receive credit for work terms outside of Canada:
- International visa students who would like to complete their work terms from their home countries/locations (learn more via the international student section below).
- Students who left Canada before June 1, 2020 and since have been abroad (applies to all students, regardless of citizenship).
In these exceptional situations, co-op credit will be assessed on a case-by-case basis with safety as our primary consideration. Factors such as the location’s level of risk before COVID-19 and other safety considerations will be taken into account when determining credit eligibility. Enhanced risk management procedures will be required before leaving Canada, or within one week of reaching your destination.
- In all cases, we cannot grant credit to in-person or remote-within-location work terms where students will be based in locations that were originally (pre-COVID-19 advisory levels) listed as high risk (“Avoid non-essential travel” or “Avoid all travel”) on the Global Affairs Canada (GAC) website.
- These situation-specific considerations are in place for Winter 2021 work terms only. The University’s stance around Spring 2020 and Fall 2020 work term travel remains unchanged, as these decisions were made as a response to the global situation at that time.
- On June 22, 2020, the US Government extended and expanded on previously issued immigration restrictions to freeze several visa classes until the end of 2020, including the J-class visa. As this is a fluid situation with several implications and interpretations, we will continue to monitor advisories and seek counsel to determine what the impact may be on future work terms.
The University continues to monitor GAC travel restrictions. If the University lifts this current travel ban and the GAC’s location-specific travel advisories are relaxed prior to the start of the Winter 2021 work term, we will be in touch with both students and employers.
We know that searching for work can be more challenging in light of COVID-19 related restrictions, particularly for our students who have a complex mix of travel, immigration and legal implications to navigate. If you’re an international visa student, the drop-downs below contain information that will help you with your job search, depending on where you are located and where you are able to work.
Please note: Hiring across borders and jurisdictions can be complicated. We expect that you and your employer will do your due diligence to understand and meet any compliance requirements – not only for your employer’s location, but for your location as well. We cannot consult or advise on local legislation and requirements, so please be sure to do your thorough research and avoid taking risks when it comes to safety and legal concerns.
As always, review the flexible pathways above for more options that can help you to complete your work term and maintain your degree requirements. If you need help with your co-op work search more generally, please reach out to your co-op advisor and review our job search resources below.
Working from your home country/current location (in-person or remote)
Students in this situation can choose to complete their work terms either:
- In-person from their home country/current location with an employer who is based in the same location.
- Remotely from their home country/current location with an employer who is based anywhere (as long as you and your employer follow our guidelines for remote work terms).
- Please note: There are special guidelines to work remotely for a Canadian employer while abroad (see below)
Co-op credit will be assessed on a case-by-case basis with safety as our primary consideration. Factors such as the ones below will be considered when determining eligibility.
- Your status: This exception only applies for students whose status on their university records is “study permit,” and does not apply if you are a dual citizen of Canada and another country/location (unless you already left Canada and have been abroad since June 1, 2020).
- Safety considerations for the location you will be based in: In all cases, we cannot grant credit to in-person or remote-within-location work terms where students will be based in locations that were originally (pre-COVID-19 advisory levels) listed as high risk (“Avoid non-essential travel” or “Avoid all travel”) on the Global Affairs Canada (GAC) website.
- Whether the job meets our current work term requirements: now more flexible in light of COVID-19!
Immigration, Refugees & Citizenship Canada confirmed guidelines for co-op work permits:
- If you will be located outside Canada for the duration of your work term: you are no longer required to have a co-op work permit to work remotely for an employer who is based in Canada.
- If you will be located within Canada during your work term or relocate at any point: you will need a co-op work permit to continue working for a Canadian employer.
That said, some Canadian employers (including the University of Waterloo) may require the following from students who are located outside Canada, depending on their company-specific requirements:
- Valid co-op work permit: Some employers may still require a co-op work permit
- Social Insurance Number (SIN) or Individual Taxation Number (ITN): You cannot apply for a SIN until you enter Canada, and have your study permit (with work authorization remarks) and/or co-op work permit. Once you enter Canada, you can apply for your SIN online. If you do not have a study permit (with work authorization remarks) and/or a co-op work permit, you might be able to apply for an ITN. This must be by paper application, but you can apply for the ITN from outside Canada, and get it mailed to an address outside Canada.
- Canadian bank account: Some Canadian banks may allow you to open an account with an ITN or SIN from your current location.
- Since these requirements are directly company-related, co-op cannot consult or advise in any manner.
If you have questions about obtaining a co-op work permit, SIN, ITN or bank account, consult with a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant, the WUSA’s Student Legal Protection Program or another qualified legal professional.
Searching for work in your home country/current location
- Though we are currently not advertising at-location jobs outside Canada on WaterlooWorks due to the current travel restrictions, you can still arrange your own job for co-op credit!
- To help support your job search, we can send you job opportunities with employers located in your home country/location (based on your citizenship recorded in Quest) for select locations where we have job leads, if such opportunities become available.
- If you’d like to receive these messages if a position becomes available, please keep your skills profile up-to-date and your job notification messages turned ON (learn more).
- For students at a home location different from their passport country/location: If you need help finding a job in your location, please email email@example.com to see if any leads are available.
Next steps if you've found a job in your home country/current location
- Please speak with your co-op advisor about your specific situation in further detail.
- Once you’ve found a job, submit an arrange own job (AOJ) form so we can determine whether it meets our current work term requirements (more flexible in light of COVID-19).
- If any supporting documentation is required to confirm your status, we will reach out to you once your AOJ form has been submitted.
- If your AOJ Form is approved, we’ll ask you to complete online risk management procedures before leaving Canada, or within one week of reaching your destination.
Working for Canadian employers (in-person or remote)
If you’re an international visa student who is interested in working for a Canadian employer, either from Canada or from your home country/location, there are some legal requirements to consider before you start your search.
Legal requirements from the Government of Canada
The Government of Canada requires international visa students to hold a valid Canadian co-op work permit in order to legally work in Canada for a Canadian employer, regardless of whether the job will be completed in-person or remotely from within Canada. This work permit must be valid for the entire duration of the work experience during the Winter 2021 term.
COVID-19 has impacted immigration services and processing times, so unless you already have a Canadian co-op work permit you will likely not receive one in time for the Winter 2021 work term if you are applying for one for the first time. Other factors such as your current location, when you applied for a renewal, etc. could also result in delayed co-op work permits.
In addition, many Canadian employers will require you to be located in Canada for the entire duration of your work term, regardless of whether the job is in-person or remote.
If you have a Canadian co-op work permit, you can complete your work term:
In-person with a Canadian employer
Remotely from within Canada with a Canadian employer
Please note that this is not a valid co-op work permit. You will need an actual co-op work permit to legally complete your work term from within Canada and should let any potential employers know where you stand.
If you have a confirmation letter with a permit number from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, please email firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible with a PDF of your document so we can update our records.
From your home country/location – in-person with an employer who is based in the same location or remotely with an employer who is based anywhere (see guidelines above)
From your home country/location – remotely with an employer who is based in Canada (this is a special case - see guidelines above)
From Canada – remotely with an employer who is based outside Canada
Questions about applying for a co-op work permit or entering into Canada more generally?
- Contact the Student Success Office’s team of Immigration Consultants.
- Review immigration information for new students and current students, including the frequently asked questions below:
- Will processing times affect my study permit extension or co-op work permit application?
- My documents are being mailed to TC. When can I retrieve them?
- How will studying part-time or taking an off term impact my co-op work permit eligibility?
- Review the SSO’s Social Insurance Number (SIN) resource for students.
- Note: A scan of the physical copy your work permit (or a study permit with certain conditions around eligibility to work) is required to apply for a SIN. The hard copies of these documents are issued only when you enter Canada for the first time. Visit the Government of Canada website to learn how to apply for a SIN and check the current processing time (e.g., on February 9 it was 20 business days) as you will need to account for this when making plans to come to Canada. Please ensure that you arrive early enough to apply and receive your SIN before beginning work in Canada (regardless of whether you will be working in-person or remote-in-Canada).
- Students can check processing times for permits on the Government of Canada website.
- Please take time to carefully review all the immigration information on the international student resources website.
If you’re an international visa student who is interested in working remotely for the University of Waterloo from your home location (outside Canada), you must have an operational Canadian bank account as well as a Social Insurance Number (SIN) at the time of applying for the job. This is currently being permitted for the Winter 2021 work term only.
Please follow our remote work guidelines when searching for work, and remember that co-op credit eligibility will be assessed on a case-by-case basis depending on factors such as the ones below:
- Your status: This exception only applies for students whose status on their university records is “student permit,” and does not apply if you are a dual citizen of Canada and another country/location (unless you already left Canada and have been abroad since June 1, 2020).
- Whether you have the following (all required):
- A Canadian Social Insurance Number (SIN): You cannot apply for a SIN until you enter Canada and have your study permit (with work authorization remarks) and/or co-op work permit. Once you enter Canada, you can apply for your SIN online.
- A Canadian bank account: Some Canadian banks may allow you to open an account with an ITN or SIN from your current location.
- Safety considerations for the location you will be based in: In all cases, we cannot grant credit to in-person or remote work terms where students will be based in locations that were originally (pre-COVID-19 advisory levels) listed as high risk (“Avoid non-essential travel” or “Avoid all travel”) on the Global Affairs Canada website.
- Whether the job meets our current work term requirements: now more flexible in light of COVID-19!
If you meet the factors above and accept an offer from a UWaterloo employer, you are acknowledging the following:
- In accepting this co-op position, you acknowledge that in the Winter 2021 term you will be in Canada or you would have been in Canada if not for travel/visa restrictions provided by the Government of Canada. The University of Waterloo will apply Canadian income tax withholding in providing payments related to your co-op position and Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and Employment Insurance (EI) applies to these payments. The University of Waterloo will provide a Canadian T4 tax slip for calendar year 2021 to you in February 2022, and you will be responsible for filing a tax return in Canada or any other country where you have an obligation to do so for 2021 to report this income. Those working from locations outside of Canada are encouraged to seek tax advice in their jurisdiction of residence.
Also, please note that you will not be eligible for UWaterloo benefits, and are required to have provincial healthcare/UHIP upon relocation, or if already at location. If working from outside Canada, you will also be required to attest that you have WUSA/GSA health and dental insurance or equivalent.
If your job is approved, you’ll receive a message asking you to complete enhanced risk management training (can be completed online from wherever you are located). This step is mandatory to receive co-op credit for your work term.If you have questions about working remotely for the University of Waterloo, please reach out to your co-op advisor.
If you’re currently located outside Canada and find a job with a Canadian employer:
- Please take time to carefully review the Student Success Office (SSO)’s immigration documents resource.
- Review the Student Success Office’s Guide to COVID-19 and Quarantine Checklist for advice on how to enter Canada, including what to do before leaving your country, on the day of your flight and after you arrive in Canada.
- Be sure to anticipate restrictions in flight availability, changing border restrictions in Canada, quarantine requirements and any other factors that may impact your re-entry to Canada.
- The University has created a subsidized Waterloo Student Quarantine Package for international students arriving in Canada to study at UWaterloo. You can register for this time-limited package (pay close attention to the eligibility time period) or arrange your own quarantine plan.
- Remember: It’s important to be clear and transparent with employers about your current location and travel plans. When making your decisions, be sure to consider any travel, safety, security immigration and legal implications that you may have to navigate.
Given the current situation, we understand that some of our students and employers may prefer to work remotely during their Winter 2021 work term. This is perfectly fine, as long as you and your employer agree and follow the guidelines below.
Many destinations and jurisdictions require individuals to work in the country/location where the employer is located, or there may be specific regulatory requirements to work across borders that you and/or your employer must understand and comply with.
To ensure you understand an employer’s expectations, it’s important to review job descriptions carefully and ask good questions during interviews so you can make informed and safe employment decisions. It’s also important to be transparent about YOUR location in case there are any implications to your work term (e.g., where you will be located, what are your intentions for the entire work term, whether travel or a quarantine period would be required if returning to the employer’s location, any specific legal considerations that should be taken into account, etc.).
Satisfying these requirements will take additional time and must be completed well in advance of the work term, or your co-op work term may not be approved.
If your job involves remote work, here’s what we expect from both you and your employer in order for your job to be eligible for co-op credit:
- Students must discuss working remotely from another location/country with employers and ensure that they comply with all jurisdictional requirements for employment in both countries/locations. For all students who are new to working remotely, we’ve put together some tips to help you navigate the transition. You can also read another UWaterloo student's blog on maintaining professionalism while working from home.
- Employers must investigate any inter-jurisdictional requirements and restrictions (e.g., payroll, taxes, workplace insurance, etc.) and meet any regulation compliance and manage risks for the location the student is in. Jurisdictional requirements and restrictions may vary by location.
- We’ve collected some key questions that employers should consider when hiring a student who will be working remotely from Canada for the duration of the work term. Beyond providing this resource, the University cannot consult or advise in any manner. If your employer has questions, they should seek their own independent legal or expert counsel.
- For students who will be working as independent contractors: You must be physically located in Canada in order for an Independent Contractor job to be eligible for co-op credit. International students will need a valid Canadian co-op work permit in order to work for a Canadian employer (learn more).
The last day to start work to receive co-op credit is March 8, 2021 for an 8-week work term ending April 30. Take a deep breath and let that sink in. You have lots of time!
The recruiting period for the Winter 2021 work term has been extended as some employers may need more time to make their hiring decisions. Employers will be posting jobs throughout the recruiting term, so keep applying until you have a match! Whether you end up finding a job at the start of the term or later in the recruitment process, great jobs will be available and we’re here to support you every step of the way.
To increase your chances of finding a job, here are some things you can do:
- Continue monitoring the Hire Waterloo Co-op, Hire Waterloo: Other and External Job Boards in WaterlooWorks for new postings. Remember: jobs found in the Other/External boards may be eligible for co-op credit through our arrange own job process and adjusted work term requirements!
- Tap into your personal network: think about who you know (and who they might know) to see if anyone is hiring, and follow the arrange own job process.
- Book a phone/webcam appointment or attend a virtual workshop with a career advisor from the Centre for Career Action (CCA) who can help you with your work search, networking strategy, self-introduction and application documents.
- Check out the CCA’s “Skill up” resource for tips on finding work in the current climate, including work search strategies, resources for students and other things you can do to develop skills if your plans to find work change.
- Learn how to make informed and safe employment decisions by asking the right questions during your interviews. This resource contains tips from the CCA's team of career advisors, as well as sample questions you can ask about remote positions, in-person positions and interview logistics in light of COVID-19.
- Develop skills to help you transition to a digital workplace through accessing online courses, a webinar series and resources provided by UWaterloo!
- If you’re an international visa student who is looking for work in your home country/location, please see the guidelines for international students section above for resources that can help you with your search.
- If you think you might be working remotely, check out our Tips for working remotely as a co-op student as well as this student blog on Maintaining professionalism while working from home.
- Access COVID-19 wellness information compiled by Waterloo's Campus Wellness team to help you navigate the present situation.
- For tips on how to talk to employers about hiring and supporting the cost of a co-op student, visit our arrange own job webpage and funding opportunities webpage. Talking about funding opportunities can be particularly helpful when talking with potential employers or negotiating job offers as a “selling point” to make it easier and more cost-effective for them to hire you!
We understand that this is a challenging and uncertain time for everyone, including our students. We know that your academics and co-op experiences are important and meaningful to you, as every class and work term brings exciting new experiences and challenges that help you grow both personally and professionally.
If you are feeling anxious or uncertain while you are searching for a job or on a work term, please feel free to reach out to your co-op advisor, or a career advisor if you’re going into your first work term. We have designated co-op student mental health advisors on every regional team across Canada (10 advisors today) to help support you no matter what time zone you’re currently in. These advisors work directly with our central Campus Wellness team to ensure you can access the best resources for your situation.
You can also access resources through Campus Wellness such as Empower Me, a confidential mental health and wellness service that students can access 24/7, 365 days a year by phone, video, online or in-person sessions.